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Property Rights in Human Tissue

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] From time to time, one may consider who really owns or should own items that develop in nature. For example, should someone be able to own and sell water, flowers, air (or oxygen), or even land for that matter? Would the answer depend on where the items are located and whose labour and resources […]

Advanced Legacies

It`s not uncommon for parents to loan their adult children money to, for example, buy a starter home, pursue post-secondary education or finance a wedding. Unfortunately, many disputes have started amongst family members after the death of a lender parent over whether an amount given to one child is a gift, loan or advance against […]

Wrongful Death Claims

If a person’s death was caused by the negligence or an intentional act of another party, immediate family members can claim compensation. Those entitled to claim such benefits include the surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of the deceased. The terms “spouse” has a specific definition which must be fulfilled in order […]

Think Twice Before Accusing “Breach of Trust!”

Feinstein v. Freedman, 2014 ONCA 205, is a recent case that encourages would-be accusers of breach of trust to look and think deeper before declaring wrongdoing …the question put to the court was whether the children of the settlor of RFT, an inter vivos spousal trust, were entitled to have themselves appointed as trustees of […]

What is Happening to Our Families?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] As I recently searched and reviewed several cases for blog post topics, I became aware, or was more likely reminded, that there are many families that have very unhealthy dynamics which either surface or intensify upon the death of a loved one. Furthermore, there are many cases of historical sibling rivalry and animosity, yet […]

Conditional Inheritances

From time to time, testators (will makers) express their intention that proposed beneficiaries of their estate must fulfill a certain condition before receiving a gift under their will or trust document. Such conditional gifts are formally known as “condition precedents” and essentially are a provision in a will or trust that prevents the vesting of […]

When Sharing A Wall Becomes A Nightmare

There are many qualities to consider when choosing a house for purchase, including design, location, price and community attributes like schools, parks and recreational facilities. Interestingly, a recent story published in the Toronto Star entitled “Vacant house a nightmare for neighbour” by Jessica McDiarmid also reminds us that curb appeal and one’s would-be neighbours should […]

Estate Trustee Role Can Be Thankless

Many people, when asked by a loved one to act as an estate trustee, feel sentiments of honour often mixed with a sense of duty and obligation. However, performing the role can also be onerous, particularly if one wants to do a good job. Unfortunately, as Erna Schneider found out in Aber Estate, 2013 ONSC […]

Squabbles Over Estate Trustee Compensation

The work of an estate trustee can be a time consuming and often exhausting role, with the possibility of a wide range of tasks. Unfortunately, there continues to be disputes in some estate administrations as to how much an estate trustee should be compensated for their work. Objections about compensation usually come from beneficiaries whose […]

4 Steps to Avoid Liability For Misinterpreting A Will

The role of an estate trustee is often a difficult one, depending on the size and complexity of the estate they are administering. Despite the honest and best efforts of the estate trustee, they may misinterpret the will and, in so doing, take steps contrary to the testator`s wishes. Although hindsight is 20/20, McDougall Estate, […]